I received the following note from Niki McNeil about In the Hands of a Child, a company that was started by two homeschooling moms in November of 2002. Theyve since grown to an international company and have added a third mom to the mix. They offer a unique product that helps the student (whether age 9 or 99) have ownership of knowledge. Their products put the learning in their hands; literally. ''Student learning improves when lessons incorporate hands-on projects or crafts.' Homeschool parents and teachers have probably heard this phrase more than once in their teaching experience. Its true! Hands-on projects accommodate all learning styles and abilities. It is also true that many educators just dont have the time or resources to put together quality hands-on activities that correspond to every subject covered in their curriculum. In the Hands of a Child has created a product that goes beyond the hands-on aspect. We have taken the preparation time out of the parent/teacher job description with our Complete Ready to Assemble Lapbook-Style Units that are available in printed book or ebook formats. So, what exactly are the Project and Research Packs that are available at In the Hands of a Child. Our selection of Project and Research Packs include Geography, Literature, Science, History, and Bible Packs. Project Packs contain both the activities and the lesson or research guide needed to complete the activities. When you order a Project Pack, you have two choices; our Project Packs are available in a printed book format or in an ebook format. All you need is an interested student, a couple file folders, some scissors, and adhesive! 'Your products are such a huge asset to getting me organized, focused, and motivated. Thanks. I am going to be doing a lapbook demo for some hs moms later this month. Cant wait to show off your products.' –In the Hands of a Child Customer and homeschooling mom. When you purchase a Project Pack from In the Hands of a Child, all the work is done for you-the parent/teacher, but not for the student. In addition, Project Packs are easy to store, are an instant review tool, scrapbook, and a ready-made portfolio of all your students studies. In the Hands of a Child offers Project and Research Packs Project Pack Kits, Craft Packs, Memberships, and Monthly Club Kits. Let us help you bring laughter and learning together In the Hands of a Child! We offer free Project Packs for all basic members to download. Visit us today at http://www.handsofachild.com or call us at 1-866-HANDS-01.”
You have probably already seen this sad news, but on August 31, 2006, Donald E. Wildmon, Founder and Chairman of American Family Association, reported that Wal-Mart asks for, and receives, permission to join homosexual marriage group. He said that Wal-Mart, the largest retailer in the world, has asked for and received permission to join the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. The NGLCC is a leading promoter of homosexual marriage. Although Wal-Mart has never excluded homosexuals from being employees, customers, or suppliers, the company wanted to be more closely identified with promoting the homosexual agenda. Wal-Mart is now a “corporate member” of the NGLCC, putting their approval on the NGLCC's efforts to abolish the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. A Wal-Mart vice president will serve as an advisor to the NGLCC, helping them promote homosexual marriage. Wal-Mart agreed to give $25,000 to the NGLCC and to pay for two conferences scheduled by NGLCC. Also, Wal-Mart will give homosexual-owned businesses special treatment when making purchases. Companies not owned by homosexuals will be moved down the list. NGLCC called Wal-Mart's action “part of the company's ongoing commitment to advancing diversity (homosexuality) among all of its associate, supplier and customer bases.” Wal-Mart is offering the same kind of support for homosexual marriage which Ford Motor Company has been giving to homosexual groups for years. We shall probably not quit shopping at Wal Mart altogether, but I have made a special effort to support them with all the negative publicity that they have received over not being union and claims that they don't provide enough “benefits” for their workers. However, now I will not go out of my way to shop there.
As almost all homeschoolers know, eBay has recently instituted a policy of not allowing teachers editions of curricula to be bought and sold through them, even by homeschooling families. The following item is taken from the Dakota Voice, 8/31/2006; http://www.dakotavoice.com/200608/20060831_3.html ..
Homeschool Magazine Responds to eBay's Ban on Selling Teacher's Editions. As homeschoolers grow increasingly frustrated with eBay's policies, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine points them towards other sites that will happily welcome their business. Five years ago, Gena Suarez started selling homeschool curriculum on eBay to make a little extra money. She developed a wonderful rapport with her customers as they began emailing her with general homeschool questions, like, “What method do you use?” “What curriculum do you like?” “How do you homeschool with a busy preschooler at home?” “How many hours a day does it take?” But those days are long gone. These days Gena and her husband, Paul, are publishers of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine and are no longer selling curriculum on eBay. Today they couldn't even sell teacher's editions there if they wanted to since the Internet auction site now prohibits the sale of those materials. eBay defends its decision on its site by saying, “Teachers editions are intended for teachers use and eBay believes in limiting the resale of those items as we are not equipped to verify if the buyer is a teacher or not.” Many homeschoolers have been affected by no longer being able to buy or sell their teacher's editions on eBay and they don't appreciate it one bit! Gena Suarez, Publisher of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine says, “Some of our readers have complained to us and asked if we could get involved. eBay is committing a crucial error in disregarding the homeschooling sector of its marketplace. The popular online auction site has benefited significantly from home educators and implementing this ban on teacher's editions is not going unnoticed. The Old Schoolhouse Magazine recommends that eBay show its support for the American family and to once again allow the selling of teacher's editions. Doing so will go a long way to restoring the relationship that homeschoolers once enjoyed with eBay.” Homeschoolers frustrated with the eBay ban on teacher's editions can take their business to other sites who understand the importance of being able to buy and sell teacher's editions for home educators.
Also, on Saturday, September 2, 2006, Evelyn Apple responded to an article posted on the Church of Christ Homeschoolers List and wrote, “'HSLDA Has Answer for eBay's Teacher's Edition Textbook Ban.' I already have an answer: teachers' manuals have always been allowed at http://www.MyHomeschoolStore.com !
As I said yesterday, I subscribe to several homeschooling magazines besides TOS and usually can find something that is helpful in each of them. Both time and money have forced me to cut down on magazine subscriptions recently, but one which I have decided to keep (I have had a couple of reviews published in it) is Homeschool Enrichment Magazine.
The Sept./Oct., 2006, issue of Homeschool Enrichment Magazine (P. O. Box 163, Pekin, IL 61555; http://www.HomeSchoolEnrichment.com) has a number of interesting and informative articles, including Kari Lewis's editorial “A Defining Moment,” Marc and Cynthia Carrier's “The Essence of Christian Parenting,” Amy Puetz's “History and Heritage” column on “The Legacy of Alvin York,” Ray and Gale Lawson's “Profiles in Christianity and Science” column on “Athanasius Kircher,” Kym Wright's “Everything in Its Place” column on “Preparation and Organization: Keys to a Successful School Year,” Deb Turner's “High School” column on “Meeting God's Requirements for Our Children,” Tara Ross's “A More Perfect Union: Why Understanding the Constitution Is Vital to Preserving Our Liberties,” Dena Wood's “Education Through Imagination,” Kathleen Trauger's excellent “Does He Need Socialization?: Why Homeschooling Is the Best Answer to the Problem of Good Socialization,” Dana Hanley's “Declaring His Power to the Next Generation,” and the always interesting Ruth Beechick's “Puritans and the Classical Curriculum,” along with Vickie Farris's question and answer column and several “Closer Look” reviews. While the magazine is always good, this issue seemed especially encouraging.
While I think that The Old Schoolhouse is the BEST homeschooling magazine available, there are several others and I have subscribed to them all at one time or another. I like Home Education Magazine (P. O. Box 1083, Tonaskjet, WA 98855; http://www.homeedmag.com). Even thought I do not always agree with everything that I read in it, I can usually find something worthwhile in every issue. For instance, the Sept./Oct., 2006, issue has very interesting columns and articles by Carol Narigon on putting on a homeschool informational night, Larry and Susan Kaseman on how to be an active part of the homeschooling movement, Wendy Roberts on how to organize a successful homeschool co-op, Kathleen McCurcy on “The Neurons that School Forgot,” Mary Nix's interview with Dr. Pat Montgomery of Clonlara School, Helen Hegner's interview with homeschooling author Linda Dobson, and Linda Dobson's own “Count Your Blessings.” My current need to make a decision whether to renew my subscription for next year or not really has nothing to do with the magazine itself or being mad at something in it. Rather, it is simply a matter of finances and time. To cut back, I have dropped subscriptions to some of the religious magazines that I have taken through the years, and I feel that I should also cut back on some of the homeschooling magazines as well. However, as indicated earlier, there are some things about Home Education Magazine with which I do not always agree. Publisher Helen Hegner wrote, “The philosophy which Mark and I brought to Home Education Magazine was one of simply trusting children to learn.” While not exclusively so, HEM does tend toward unschooling, and occasionally I have seen articles which seemed to mock and ridicule those homeschoolers who “do school at home” and use “canned curricula.” But that would not be a major problem. While I do not subscribe to all the theories of John Holt, who is acknowledged as the founder of “unschooling,” I do not reject the idea of unschooling altogether. However, I also see what I think is a little bias against those who homeschool because of strongly-held, sincere religious beliefs. Carol Narigon wrote about finding a place for a homeschool information night, “Some churches will donate space for free or for the cost of a collection basket. (Unless your group is affiliated with the church,, you'll want to clearly state that your workshop is strictly for homeschooling. Some people who don't want to join a religiously affiliated group might be put off or form the wrong impression by meeting in a church.)” I think I understand what Carol is saying, and basically I agree with her, but sometimes the writers in the magazine seem to fall all over themselves to point out that not all homeschoolers are religious, with the possible implication that some who are “religious homeschoolers” are not really to be trusted. I would not say that the magazine is “anti religious homeschoolers,” but those of us who are committed Bible believers would not find as much in it to encourage us. Another example is News and Commentary editor Valerie Bonham Moon's reference to the suit by Calvary Chapel Christian School against the University of California for disallowing high school credit for science courses using Bob Jones and A Beka curricula, often used by homeschoolers as well. She noted the judge's observation that no Catholic, Islamic, or Jewish schools had problems in moving students through the UC system. With all due respect to sincere Catholics and Jews (and even Muslims), the fact is that most of their schools have compromised with Darwinian evolution in their science courses. But the whole note seems to imply that somehow people who oppose Darwinian evolution are just a bunch of spoil sports. And worst of all, perhaps related to the discussion of religious homeschoolers, there is a definite bias against Home School Legal Defense Association. In fact, out of six items in Valerie Bonham Moon's News and Commentary column, four of them make some kind of snide remark about HSLDA or its adjunct Patrick Henry College.
In the Sept. 2/9, 2006, issue of World Magazine, Joel Belz had an article entitled Monday morning Rx about speaking at the opening convocation for the new academic year at 1,900-student Briarwood Christian School in Birmingham, AL, part of the 4,000-member Briarwood Presbyterian Church, but noted that not everyone at the church is part of or committed to the school, because a significant number of families are energetic homeschoolers and another group is involved in a variety of public schools. Therefore, after the gathering, the church's minister, Harry Reeder, asked all the faculty and staff of the school to come forward and stand in a row. Then he asked everyone who was otherwise involved in the education of young people–homeschoolers and teachers in other schools to stand in another row. Finally, he asked everyone in the two lines to get acquainted with the person standing just opposite and suggested that every single employee of Briarwood school agree to pray at least once a week for some homeschooler or public school teacher. Belz thought that it was an incredibly simple answer to a problem that we've all witnessed but seldom addressed. Far be it from me to be critical of this or to doubt the power of friendship and prayer in creating goodwill between homeschoolers and private or public school families. However, it seems to me that it presupposes that maybe homeschooling families have some degree of ill will toward others. In my experience, that is simply not the case. Oh, maybe there is a homeschooler somewhere who thinks that he is “holier than thou,” but that is very, very rare. Also, it may be that the warnings which we sound, often in response to attacks on us, of the dangers that we have seen in public and even private schools may sound to some (perhaps as a result of their own defensiveness) as if we think that they are in sin and must repent, but if so, that is usually a huge misunderstanding too. Mostly, we just want to be left alone and not be constantly told how our children will be ruined due to lack of socialization and fail in their responsibilities to be “salt and light”–especially when there is absolutely no evidence that this is happening among homeschoolers. I will not argue with those families who choose either public or private schools for their children, but will allow them their choice of educational alternatives, even as I ask that they allow me my choice of homeschooling. However, talking about evidence, since the statistics show that some 80% or so of children from Bible believing families who go to public schools lose their faith, I still have to wonder what is going on. The Old Testament prophets who warned the people of Israel regarding their wrong direction were often rejected by the majority and even stoned, but they kept on warning!
In a previous blog, I had a note about an article, “Rod Rules,” in the Aug. 5, 2006, issue of World Magazine on spanking that began with an advertisement for flexible nylon spanking rods in Home School Digest, told about a homeschooling mother who objected so she founded an anti-spanking organization, and ended up in my opinion sounding like it compromised the Biblical teaching on corporal punishment. Home School Digest editor Skeet Savage wrote in the Sept. 2/9, 2006, issue of World, “Our publication has received hundreds of hateful, profane, and sometimes threatening calls and e-mails from anti-spanking advocates because of our long-standing support of loving, restrained, biblical discipline of children. 'Rod rules' does not sufficiently expose the angry and abusive nature of the humanistic no-spank movement and the desire of its leaders to undermine the authority of Scripture and strip parents of their biblical responsibility to use the rod in a proper manner.” Well said, Mrs. Savage! Of five other letters to the editor on the subject, three seemed to be anti-spanking. However, one public school teacher wrote, “I have seen the results of the lack of proper discipline in homes and schools. Time-outs, missed recess, in-school suspensions, or reasoning with the child rarely effectively change the children. Corporal punishment is not the answer to all behavior problems, but it should be administered occasional in a biblical, loving way.” And another person said, “I was spanked as a child by my parents. It never endangered my life or did permanent damage, yet the anti-spanking movement wants the authority to take kids away from their parents if they spank them? Preposterous!”